Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Verges, Planted and Unplanted

So I walked along the curbs of the parking lots, looking intently at all the plants on the wild meadowland side. Grasses and ferns and millions of things I don't even have loose generic names for -- plants that look like St John's Wort but aren't (they don't have little holes in their leaves), and litte vividly green feathery humps, and things that might or might not be peas growing wild, and tiny flowers that grow up on a fractal lattice of thin bare stems.

And then I crossed to the planted verges and looked at pansies (were they pansies? will I ever know?) and all the orderly shrubs waiting their turn to blossom. I thought of what I said to Lekshe: that I have a very hard time imagining that plants could want to do something that I could help them with. That they could want to drink, and I could water them; that they could want to climb and I could give them something to climb on. Just not a way I'm used to thinking. & I thought of weeding, a hard concept for me -- (this living thing gets to grow here, but that living thing does not -- on my whim? Because of my esthetic prejudices? It's one thing for sustenance, but quite another for decoration.)

Most of all, of course, I'm unwilling to be stupid. To do things I'm no good at, to make the silly mistakes that go along with doing something new. Then comes the twist of desire again, that wringing pain.

"Lord, take away my sins -- but not yet." That's how St Augustine says he used to pray. Oh, I grow stupider by the minute. I'm like a little boy that takes complicated machinery to bits and then wanders away from it. Putting it back together would be way too hard. Some adult must know how to do it. That's what they're there for. Isn't it? "One fine morning, when my work is done / I'm going to fly / Away home."

But --

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